Sunday, January 19, 2014

Annual Christmas tree farm trip: Rewind

I am going to do several rewind posts just to catch up to where we are now. I am hoping I stick with it and actually do it. I am so behind on my posts and want to get up to date because I love being able to go back and look at what we did and I hope the kids are able to do the same as they get older. So here is our Christmas tree farm post :).

Every year we look forward to going to the Christmas Tree Farm to get our Christmas tree. I love creating traditions with the kids that hopefully they can pass down to their children and this is one of them that I hope they continue. We went after Thanksgiving like we always do but since Thanksgiving was a little late this year, there were slim pickings on the trees. So we ended having to go to Lowes to get our tree because we really could not find what we were looking for at the farm.




Ruthie was in a very strange mood and it seemed as though she didn’t feel good because she wasn’t her usual fun self. I ended up taking her to the doctor the next day and she did in fact have a double ear infection. Poor little girl. IMG_8970


What pictures with me and the kids always end up looking like Smile



Ruthie’s first time drinking hot chocolate.









Riding the tractor down to see reindeer. IMG_9026









Some of the pictures I took with my iphone.

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Here are some comparison pictures from last year’s Christmas tree farm outings. I LOVE comparison pictures Smilechristmas tree farm4

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Wednesday, January 15, 2014

Our Disney World Trip: Day 1: Epcot


Jeremy and I have of course always talked about taking our children to Disney World one day but Jeremy has always made me think it would be way on down the road. I honestly thought that the kids would be 8 and 6 before we ever took the plunge and decided to make the trip to the Happiest Place on Earth. So I was so surprised when Jeremy mentioned to me that he was strongly considering taking us this year. I didn’t get too excited about it because I didn’t want to get my hopes up but I was secretly hoping for him to come around and let us go as soon as possible Smile. So of course I was shocked when Jeremy texted me one day in October that he booked a trip for us in December! I had no idea he was that serious and I really had no idea he was thinking that soon. I was shocked, so excited and honestly a little stressed at the idea of planning a trip in less that 3 months and also leaving the week before CHRISTMAS!! From everything I have read you needed at least 180 days to plan and to be able to get reservations at all of the restaurants that you wanted, so I thought we would be unable to do anything that we wanted. Well that is not true, especially if you go during a low crowd time like we did. I am sure in the middle of summer you really wouldn’t be able to plan something that soon but I was so glad it worked out for us. A few reasons why he decided to go ahead and book so soon was that they were running their free dining promotional during that time and this saved us almost $1,000. So he thought that was a promotion we didn’t need to let pass by. Disney runs this promotion several times throughout the year so look into it. We used a Disney travel agent that was great at helping us get everything squared away and able to get the promotion. We also were so lucky to get $49 airline tickets there and back for our whole family. That is a huge money saver because usually one flight one way could cost up to $250 or more. So we were so so happy about that! So I got to planning and packing and reserving as much as I could as fast as I could so that we wouldn’t miss out on anything.

on the airplane


The $49 flights ended up being for the day before we were planning on going so we just booked 6pm flights for the night before and got an extra night at the hotel. There were a few cons to this but more pros. I liked being able to sleep at the park and wake up and go instead of stepping off a plane and wasting time at the airport then going to the park. The one aspect that wasn’t good about this decision was that we really did not think it would take as long as it did to get to our room. Our flight from Bham was of course delayed because you have to expect that when you fly on a late in the day flight. It was only delayed about 45 minutes and luckily the kids had naps earlier and they had a playplace in the airport which was a life saver, and we just ate dinner at the airport, so it wasn’t too bad. The bad part was when we arrived in Orlando it was around 9ish Orlando time and we had to wait for the Magical Express (shuttle from airport to hotel) and ride it to the resort and then check in and then since our resort was so big we had to catch a internal shuttle to our room. This was a lot to do with children who had been on a plane and who were coming up on bedtime. They were WIRED though, I have no idea what was going on or if they were just so excited but all of the other kids and people on the Magical Express were trying to sleep but our kids were looking out the window and screaming at every character they saw and laughing and bouncing off the walls. I knew they would crash soon, but man, I felt so bad for the other passengers on the shuttle who were really tired. I told the woman seated in front of us who had a very cranky, tired child we were sorry  a hundred times and she finally just told me not to apologize because our kids were making her so happy. She could tell it was their first time and she said she would give anything to have her children back to that age again. So it kinda made me have perspective. I was so happy that our kids were so excited and not jaded yet Smile. Also, the one other bad thing if you arrive at night is that Disney will take your bags from the airport to your room which is typically awesome, unless you arrive after 9 or 10pm because they bring your bags to your room at 3 am in the morning. Yes, we got a knock on the door at 3 am and had to get our bags from the bell hop. We called when we got in our room and asked if they could keep them until the morning and they said yes, but then I realized we had antibiotics for the kids’ ear infections and needed to refrigerate them, so we had them bring them on. They will tell you it could take up to 5 hours to get your luggage so if you arrive at night time make sure you pack a carry on with pjs and any nighttime stuff you might need. We thankfully did this.

As we were checking in at the resort (Caribbean Beach Resort) the staff gave Harris a pirate eye patch and a sword and gave Ruthie a sparkly wand. Then Ruthie wanted pirate gear too so they fixed her up Winking smile.

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Here are a million pictures from our first day at Disney World at Epcot.


Harris was so excited, Ruthie was still sleepy. Ha! We rented our stroller from Kingdom Strollers and it was delivered at 8am in the morning. It was a life saver!


Waiting at the bus stop. We had to catch a bus everyday for the park we were going to. The buses run every 20 minutes and sometimes faster than that. The buses weren’t that bad but I can’t imagine if it was really crowded. We only had a few packed bus moments, but they will PACK people into them, so in the summer I might throw up being on the bus with that many sweaty, hot people.


She finally woke up.


The first thing we did was Turtle Talk with Crush from Nemo. Then we rode the Seas with Nemo and Friends.



Harris and Daddy went on the Test Track while mommy and Ruthie walked around. It really worked out perfectly for our family because I really do not care to ride too many fast rides. When they both can do the fast rides then I of course will do them with them but for now I loved just spending time with Ruthie while the guys were having fun.




Watching a street performance.


Harris wasn’t having the “take a picture in front of the ball” at this time. He was wanting to keep going to rides. IMG_0550

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Meeting the Mexican Donald in Mexico Smile. Ruthie was terrified of the characters but would appease us for a picture.


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Spending some time in “Mexico”.

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Coloring in the Mexico ruins. Then we rode the Gran Fiesta Tour Starring The Three Caballeros.


Eating lunch in Mexico.


After lunch we just walked around the different countries. I love this part of Epcot. It is really not the best for the kids but I could spend days just walking around and looking at everything here.


Meeting Snow White in Germany!






The famous turkey leg. He ended up throwing this away because it was so big but it was very yummy.


They LOVED the popcorn!


The kids look hilarious here with Santa and Mrs. Clause! Lol!






Everyday we went back to the room to nap. This is just what works for us. We have serious nappers and we really wanted to keep the kids as happy and meltdown free as possible so this helped a ton. We really just followed our schedule for the day. If we had a late dinner we would go to the room later and nap later that way they could stay up later Smile. It worked well for us. Now, I think it helped a lot that it wasn’t a really crowded time because if the bus system was crowded and if we had to wait a long time for buses, I am not sure this would have been a smart idea. But it wasn’t bad having to get on the buses and go back to the resort since the buses weren’t full at all.

We had dinner reservations back at Akershus Banquet Hall in Epcot that night, so we napped and headed back over to Epcot




There was absolutely no line to meet Mickey, Minnie and Goofy so we got to meet them and spend some time with them. IMG_0625



After that we had some time to kill so we rode Maelstrom which is in Norway and it tells the story of the Nordic trek. It was fun and since there was no line we are so glad we did it. This picture below is the only one from that ride.





We had dinner at Akershus which is a Princess Storybook Dinner. It was SO good but it counts as 2 table service meals. You pretty much meet all of the Princesses and then they have a little parade in the restaurant where the kids can walk with the princesses. Harris of course was a trooper but did keep asking where all of the princesses were coming from. Ha! 







After dinner we headed over to watch the Epcot firework show. It was a great show and one of my favorites. We could actually see this firework show from our resort.









I know I am forgetting so much but I at least got the gist of what we did. I didn’t take my good camera so the pictures are horrible and I didn’t focus on getting good, creative shots as much as I just tried to document as fast as I could. Most of these pictures are with my iphone or my old old Canon Rebel xti. I am ashamed but it worked best because I didn’t want to have to bring an external flash and honestly if I lost this camera or if it got broken I wouldn’t have been too sad. So I feel I made the best decision even though I am embarrassed with my picture quality .  Next day is Hollywood Studios day.